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Embracing Artificial Intelligence in the Classroom

As generative AI tools like ChatGPT continue to captivate the public, the education sector has responded with caution, concerned about issues of academic integrity and the potential for biased or inaccurate information. However, Houman Harouni, a lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, argues that educators must embrace these emerging technologies and find ways to leverage them in the classroom.

Case in point: Harouni believes that rather than ignoring or banning AI tools, educators should engage with them directly alongside their students. This allows students to explore the capabilities and limitations of these technologies, while also teaching them how to ask thoughtful questions and critically evaluate the information they generate.

Go deeper: Harouni suggests several strategies for integrating AI into the classroom:

  • Acknowledge the reality that these technologies exist and students are already experimenting with them on their own. Provide guidance on using them responsibly.
  • Incorporate AI-generated responses into class discussions, prompting students to analyze and critique the information.
  • Teach students how to ask effective questions that push the boundaries of what AI can do, encouraging them to think critically.

Why it matters: Harouni argues that the goal should not be to replace human learning with AI, but to use these tools to spark the imagination and challenge students to develop higher-level thinking skills. By embracing the limitations of AI, educators can create assignments and learning experiences that push students beyond the capabilities of the technology.

The big picture: As AI continues to advance, Harouni believes that educators must adapt their teaching methods to reflect the changing landscape. Rather than viewing these technologies as a threat, he encourages educators to “dance with the robots,” finding ways to integrate them into the learning process in meaningful and productive ways.

What they’re saying: “You have to stop thinking that you can teach exactly the way you used to teach when the basic medium has changed,” Harouni explains. “We have to create assignments that push [students] to the point where they have to question what is the framework that is being used here and what would it mean for me to radically change this framework.”

The bottom line: By embracing AI in the classroom and using it to challenge and inspire students, educators can help prepare the next generation to navigate the complexities of a rapidly evolving technological landscape. The key is to see these tools not as a threat, but as an opportunity to rethink and reinvent the learning experience.

Embracing Artificial Intelligence in the Classroom | Harvard Graduate School of Education

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